No Security Pat-Downs for Boehner - NYTimes.com

3:37 p.m. | Updated Representative John A. Boehner, soon to be the Speaker of the House, has pledged to fly commercial airlines back to his home district in Ohio. But that does not mean that he will be subjected to the hassles of ordinary passengers, including the controversial security pat-downs.

As he left Washington on Friday, Mr. Boehner headed across the Potomac River to Reagan National Airport, which was bustling with afternoon travelers. But there was no waiting in line for Mr. Boehner, who was escorted around the metal detectors and body scanners, and taken directly to the gate.


Thanks, I'll take the grope

Getting Touchy at the Airport - NYTimes.com

A typical dental X-ray exposes the patient to about 2 millirems of radiation. According to one widely cited estimate, exposing each of 10,000 people to one rem (that is, 1,000 millirems) of radiation will likely lead to 8 excess cancer deaths. Using our assumption of linearity, that means that exposure to the 2 millirems of a typical dental X-ray would lead an individual to have an increased risk of dying from cancer of 16 hundred-thousandths of one percent.

I'm not worried so much about the X-rays (although it turns out geezers are more susceptible), I'm worried about the math. That calculation looks suspicious to me. At least until I'm sure these guys can do the arithmetic I don't want them shooting their mutating death beams at me. 

Of course I might be wrong. I have a cold. Right, it's a tiny, tiny cold, almost imperceptible, but it is all the excuse I need to trot over to the grocery store and lug back a whole, giant bag of feel-good food. Yea! So I think I'm spending the rest of the weekend eating crackers and cheese and cinnamon coffee cake and potato chips and, oh yeah, a can of chicken noodle soup. For medicinal purposes.

And then I'll worry about the math.

"Stick 'em up," GE tells state

GE says tax credit would limit Lynn layoffs - The Boston Globe

General Electric Co. has made an unusual offer to the state: Give us $25 million in tax credits, and we won’t cut any more than 150 positions at our aircraft engine plant in Lynn....

Typically the state grants tax breaks to companies that create — not cut — jobs, making the General Electric request unusual. State officials said they cannot recall another case of a company asking for tax subsidies while warning it will continue to reduce employment.


At least I wasn't awake to see it

Apparently the world ended sometime last night. This is an actual lede paragraph from the MSNBC web site this morning:

Calif. granny made dummy bomb in terror scare - Africa - msnbc.com

A dummy bomb that sparked an international terror alert was made by an 80-year-old woman in California and ended up discarded in a Namibia airport because of "a boo-boo," NBC News reported Friday.

No kidding. A boo-boo. But it was only a dummy bomb, so no ouchies.


No, babe, it will never end, not ever

Miller seeks to block Alaska decision - Meredith Shiner - POLITICO.com

Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller is seeking a preliminary injunction from a federal court to keep Alaska officials from certifying the election for incumbent and apparent write-in victor Lisa Murkowski.

Kiss my MERS, say bankers

Aggressive lobbying defends mortgage-trading system

The financial services industry has launched an aggressive campaign on Capitol Hill to bolster the legality of the way companies have turned mortgages into securities and traded them across the globe in recent years....

The industry is seeking legislation that would effectively affirm MERS's legality and block any bill that would call into question what MERS does. MERS has spent more than $1 million in lobbying since fall 2008, when lower courts around the country began to rule against it. But MERS had kept its name under the radar until the recent uproar over foreclosures revealed broad problems in mortgage paperwork.

And we are not making this up

Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union » TSA Pulls Aside Humorist Dave Barry for "Blurred Groin"

We have been hearing (and repeating ourselves) that you have options when you go the airport. That is, if you're pulled aside for secondary screening, you have a choice between going through the strip-search machine or being given an "enhanced pat-down." (Incidentally, this isn't the first time "enhanced" has been used as a euphemism for something abusive.)

But NPR reports that humorist Dave Barry had the misfortune of getting both the full-body scan and a pat-down, because the full-body scan displayed to screeners a "blurred groin." The blurriness in his nether-regions required a secondary-secondary screening, in a separate room, wherein a screener gave Barry a pat-down.

And Blurred Groin would be an excellent name for a rock band.

But they can spell "CBS", so that's something

The Washington Monthly

THE WRONG QUESTION AT THE WRONG TIME.... CBS News sent around a press release yesterday afternoon about a special "In Focus: Debt and Deficit," hosted by Katie Couric.

The release noted, "With this year's record-breaking deficit of $1.5 trillion -- the biggest ever in U.S. history -- and the national debt reaching a whopping $14 trillion, Americans are now faced with making tough choices in order for the country to dig itself out of its national financial mess."

The press release happened to be wrong. The deficit isn't $1.5 trillion; it's $1.29 trillion. The deficit also isn't "the biggest ever in U.S. history," neither in real terms nor in percentage of GDP. The national debt hasn't reached a "whopping $14 trillion" yet, either. All of these errors were in the first paragraph.


Over the river and through the woods

Controversy over pat-downs, body scans lands at DIA - The Denver Post

"Travelers should know that while pies are permitted through the security checkpoint," numerous other foods, including "creamy dips and spreads," gravy and gift baskets with salsa and jams are not, according to the Transportation Security Administration. A more complete list of foods prohibited from passing through checkpoints can be found on the travel tips section of the agency's website, www.tsa.gov.

"Additionally, TSA does not permit snow globes through the security checkpoint because they contain an undetermined amount of liquid," the agency adds.


You were thinking no, right? But yes

Insurers Test Data Profiles to Identify Risky Clients - WSJ.com

Life insurers are testing an intensely personal new use for the vast dossiers of data being amassed about Americans: predicting people's longevity.

Insurers have long used blood and urine tests to assess people's health—a costly process. Today, however, data-gathering companies have such extensive files on most U.S. consumers—online shopping details, catalog purchases, magazine subscriptions, leisure activities and information from social-networking sites—that some insurers are exploring whether data can reveal nearly as much about a person as a lab analysis of their bodily fluids.



...a fan of the quantitative easing (BTW) concludes:

Axis of Depression - NYTimes.com

Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House.

Good on you, NYTimes

The Ghailani Verdict - NYTimes.com

The verdict in the first federal trial of a former Guantánamo detainee has unleashed the usual chest-thumping and fear-mongering from the usual politicians. They are disappointed that the defendant was only convicted of one count of conspiring to blow up American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 — a crime for which he will probably serve a life sentence.

So OK maybe we really do need better schools

Fox News chief: NPR has ‘a kind of Nazi attitude’ | Raw Story

In an interview published by The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz Wednesday, the Fox News chairman [Roger Ailes] attacked NPR as "Nazis."...

"They are, of course, Nazis," Ailes said. "They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive."



Stick a fork in it, Bunky, we need us a hangin' judge

Terror cases: US may have to use military courts - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Obama administration may now be forced to rely on military tribunals to try "war on terror" suspects after a New York jury cleared the first ex-Guantanamo inmate brought to a civilian court of almost all charges, experts said Thursday.

"The verdict has offered a vision of the nightmare scenario -- acquittal in a terrorism case involving a high value detainee -- and that vision will be enough to ramp up the already intense pressure not to try something like this again," said legal expert Benjamin Wittes from the Brookings Institution....

"The only thing that will matter in the political sphere will be that prosecutors won a conviction on only one of 285 criminal counts -- that they came within a hair's breath of losing the case entirely," he said.

JIC you had any misunderrefudiations about "justice" in mind.

My problem with all this is just that I'm so friggin' old I remember the Cold War era when those evil godless Commies put guys on trial, guys who had been tortured into confessions, and finding them guilty in what we called "show trials" and roundly condemned. And I wish I didn't remember that because it really spoils all the fun.


Refresh my memory: Is there some reason we don't want these guys to secede?

Leo Berman, Texas State Legislator, Introduces 'Birther' Bill

Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R) furthered his campaign against President Obama Tuesday, a man that he has before characterized as "God's punishment on us," by introducing a bill that would require future presidential and vice-presidential candidates to produce "the original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen" to the Texas secretary of state.

Give me tyranny or give me just being sick, what the hell

McConnell: Health Care Reform Leads America On A Path To Tyranny | TPMDC

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took another step toward embracing the Republican Party's new tea party mandate in a speech before the Federalist Society's annual convention in Washington this morning. Ripping a page right from the tea party hymnal, McConnell pledged to hold a vote on "full repeal" of the landmark health care law signed this year by President Obama, suggesting that unless Republicans can kill the legislation, America could be headed for a tyrannical police state.

In case you've been wondering, now you know

Sexuality Study: Why Every Amanda and Erica Is Friskier Than A Claire or Kate - TIME NewsFeed

...according to the French page of online dating service Smartdate, women whose names end in “a” have more sexual partners in life than those who don't.



American Family Association guy: Hooah, we want more blood

Bryan Fischer: The feminization of the Medal of Honor - RIGHTLYCONCERNED.COM

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

You gottabe kiddingme

From the Washington Post:

GOP may be less eager than Obama for bipartisanship



Actually, it makes perfect sense

Bush and his gang used to say the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, right?

TSA New Screening Procedures Gets Criticized From All Angles | Crooks and Liars

So if we give up our freedoms they won't hate us anymore.


Self Portrait

Photo: Phil Compton

Wisconsin guy sees this Bristol person dance, shoots TV

Bristol Palin’s dancing on TV set off man in standoff, complaint says

Cowan went upstairs for about 20 minutes and returned, demanding
his pistols, which had been taken by his daughter about a month ago
for safety reasons. He was carrying a single-shot shotgun, which he
loaded and fired into the television.

So, Bunky, if you're not discouraged already...

Phys Ed: The Workout Enigma - NYTimes.com

Recently, researchers in Finland made the discovery that some people’s bodies do not respond as expected to weight training, others don’t respond to endurance exercise and, in some lamentable cases, some don’t respond to either. In other words, there are those who just do not become fitter or stronger, no matter what exercise they undertake.


Not celebrity body scans yet, but how long can it be?

100 Body Scans From Security Checkpoint Leaked (PICTURES)

Earlier this year, the U.S. Marshals Service admitted that--despite promises from federal agencies that such images could and would not be stored--some 35,000 images from a scanner at a security checkpoint at a Florida courthouse had been saved.

New GOP rep bitches when his government health care doesn't kick in soon enough

Republican freshman outraged over congressional health care plan - Yahoo! News

Newly elected GOP Rep. Andy Harris showed up Monday to freshman orientation on Capitol Hill and discovered that his health care wouldn't kick in until February. He wasn't pleased.

It is to weep

Sarah Palin coins ‘word of the year,’ books boffo cable debut - Yahoo! News

Sarah Palin's reality show scored huge ratings for its premiere Sunday night, while the guardians of usage at the New Oxford American Dictionary awarded the former Alaska governor the higher-brow distinction of coining 2010's "word of the year" — "refudiate" — via her Twitter account.


WASHINGTON (AFP) – One of President Barack Obama's top critics in the US Congress called for bolstering US powers to detain "war on terrorism" fighters -- including US citizens -- indefinitely and without trial.



Petraeus strikes back at Karzai ahead of major NATO conference on Afghanistan - CSMonitor.com

A war of words has erupted between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and the United States just days before a major NATO conference on security strategy.

...known for his admiration of Lincoln, might do well to remember Lincoln fired a bunch of generals before he found the one who could win his war.

One of the gang

Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » The fastidious president

In a lengthy piece in the London Review of Books, David Bromwich points out many of Obama’s flaws. What he describes (in not the same words) is his tendency to act like a middle managers: Suck up to the people in power, act like you’re one of the gang to the people beneath you: “There’s nothing I can do about it, boys, you know how they are.”

The one that got away

Erskine Bowles, Morgan Stanley, and the Deficit Commission | Beat the Press

The deficit report put out by the commission's co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, had one striking omission. It does not include plans for a Wall Street speculation tax or any other tax on the financial industry.

This omission is striking because the co-chairs made a big point of saying that they looked everywhere to save money and/or raise revenue. As Senator Simpson said: "We have harpooned every whale in the ocean - and some minnows." Wall Street is one whale that appears to have dodged the harpoon.


Little Tucker can not figure out the internet

Once you hit send, you can forget privacy - The Boston Globe

Tucker Carlson, who edits The Daily Caller, a political-journalism website, posed as suspended MSNBC host Keith Olbermann in e-mails to a Philadelphia columnist last week, then claimed he did not expect that his prank e-mails would be published.

Don't be such wimps, squints say

Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars - Yahoo! News

PULLMAN, Wash. – Invoking the spirit of "Star Trek" in a scholarly article entitled "To Boldly Go," two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return.

You, Bunky, are doomed

Investors Funding Medical Malpractice, Divorce Lawsuits

A review by The New York Times and the Center for Public Integrity shows that the inflow of money is giving more people a day in court and arming them with well-paid experts and elaborate evidence. It is helping to ensure that cases are decided by merit rather than resources, echoing and expanding a shift a century ago when lawyers started fronting money for clients’ lawsuits.

But the review shows that borrowed money also is fueling abuses, including cases initiated and controlled by investors....

Well, me too. But not so much. It's mostly you.


See, this is what I don't understand

Hobbled Dems, eager GOP back for lame-duck session - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON – Seven weeks ahead of the GOP House takeover, hobbled Democrats and invigorated Republicans return Monday...

Why are these guys so "hobbled?" They're still in office, aren't they? They still have votes. So why don't they friggin' vote for something. Get something done.

That'd be nice.

Bears go 6-3

Bears Game Day: 3 Cutler TD tosses key 27-13 win - Chicago Breaking Sports

The Bears gained a tie for first place and effectively squashed the Minnesota Vikings' attempt to enter the NFC North title chase with a convincing 27-13 victory Sunday at Soldier Field in front of 59,834 fans.

Milder will be good

Snowstorm causes 400 Minn. crashes; 2 die in Wis. - Yahoo! News

Parts of the Upper Midwest dug out from a heavy snowfall Saturday that caused more than 400 traffic accidents in Minnesota, and wintry conditions also were being blamed for a collision in northern Wisconsin that killed two people....

The storm dumped 11 inches of snow in parts of Eden Prairie, Minn., and 10 inches in the Forest Lake and Mankato areas, said Todd Krause, a federal meteorologist in Minneapolis. The major snowfall activity ended by early afternoon, and Sunday's forecast looked milder, he said.



McDonald's and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy | Politics | The Guardian

The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald's and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.

Oh, wait. That's in England. Never mind.


OK, this is the last straw, right here

Global Warming Could Lead to Vast Chocolate Shortage | Personal Health | AlterNet

Something's got to be done about this global warming thing. Now.

Feeling happy this morning, Bunky? We can fix that.

Who Will Stand Up to the Superrich? - NYTimes.com

“How can hedge-fund managers who are pulling down billions sometimes pay a lower tax rate than do their secretaries?” ask the political scientists Jacob S. Hacker (of Yale) and Paul Pierson (University of California, Berkeley) in their deservedly lauded new book, “Winner-Take-All Politics.” If you want to cry real tears about the American dream — as opposed to the self-canonizing tears of John Boehner — read this book and weep. The authors’ answer to that question and others amounts to a devastating indictment of both parties.